Dealing with Death

This summer, my dog died.  It was a very harrowing and gross affair, and many tears were shed by me and by my parents.  The cat appeared not to care, but he probably did.

I could describe in gross detail exactly how the dog died, and all the ugly processes that go along with it, but I’m pretty sure it’s something that nobody wants to hear.  It’s a sad story, I know, but it’s okay because I’m over it now.

I’ve been told that I have a very cavalier attitude when it comes to death.  “Eh, things die,” I say.  It’s kind of inevitable.  But don’t get me wrong, now, this doesn’t mean that I am completely indifferent. I still care about things, and would care if they died.  For example, I always feel bad when I have to kill things.  I can’t help but feel sorry for the creatures I kill, whether it is a group of ants that happens to be inside, the mosquitoes that hover around annoyingly, or the next-door neighbor who mows his lawn at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday.  Those poor things were only doing what nature has geared them to do.

However, as we all know, not all death is dealt with so”¦flippantly.  When someone close to you dies, or even someone not so close, it’s a little shocking.  Even if it was a long time coming, it’s still not something you can really prepare for.  It’s not something you really WANT to prepare for.  Different people deal with it in different ways, and whether you bawl your eyes out or stand solemnly to the side is ultimately up to you.  Crying over someone’s death does not make one weak, and being stoic does not necessarily mean one is strong.  I am speaking from experience, of course.

But so what if life is finite?  An infinite lifespan would admittedly get very boring, and if everything and everyone lasted forever, then what would there be to value?  Spending time with friends, enjoying yourself and forming interpersonal relationships wouldn’t matter, because you’d have all the time in the world to do so.  Time would mean nothing to someone who was immortal, just as money means little to those who are born into it.  Besides, when someone dies it’s not like you’ll never see them again.  Some people believe in an afterlife where everyone is reunited.  Even if you don’t, that doesn’t mean your loved ones are lost forever.  As cheesy as it sounds, those that die live on in our hearts as memories.  Actually, I’m pretty sure that line came straight from a shounen anime, but it’s still a valid belief.  There’s nothing to really prevent you from missing them, but that’s okay; it just means that you valued them and they (hopefully) valued you.

Lauren Schroeter is a  junior majoring in Geology and Religion.